Review: ‘Red Hook Black’

Zero-budgeted, undistinguished slice-of-life drama "Red Hook Black," set in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn, crosscuts between the domestic fortunes of two friends -- one white, one black -- attempting to adapt to changing economic times.

Zero-budgeted, undistinguished slice-of-life drama “Red Hook Black,” set in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn, crosscuts between the domestic fortunes of two friends — one white, one black — attempting to adapt to changing economic times. The characters are wearisomely one-dimensional and their situations and motives almost indecipherable due to poor exposition, weirdly pretentious dialogue and amateurish thesping. Pic sometimes attains an unintentionally surreal, head-scratching quality, but its nagging repetitiveness quickly trumps its kitsch potential. “Hook” opens Dec. 9 at Gotham’s Quad Cinema, with nary a hook to rescue it from oblivion.

Adapted and directed by Luis Landivar from a play by brother Jose, “Hook” retains its source’s stagy rhythms, delivered with clueless emphases at cross-purposes with whatever meaning the cryptic dialogue ever possessed. While the singularly unpleasant white hero (Kyle Fields) berates his MS-afflicted wife (Victoria Negri), screws her amorous, revenge-seeking niece (Danielle Lozeau) and gets canned from his longshoreman job, the black guy (James Jackson) experiences traumatic nightmares of his ex, welcomes a shining new love (Cristina Rodlo, delivering the sole competent perf) and copes with a feckless, narcissistic, drug-dealing younger brother (Keith Walker). Arthur Miller it ain’t.

Red Hook Black

Production

A Land Varied Intl. production. Produced, directed, written by Luis Landivar, based on the play by Jose Landivar.

Crew

Camera (color, HD), Valentina Caniglia; editor, Anastasia Cipolla; music, Michael Bianco; production designer, Minerva Caicedo. Reviewed on DVD, New York, Dec. 6, 2011. Running time: 87 MIN.

With

Kyle Fields, James Jackson, Danielle Lozeau, Victoria Negri, Cristina Rodlo, Keith Walker.
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